English expats were desperately hunting for tickets to the Three Lion’s crunch Euro 2020 match with Ukraine in Rome today as quarantine rules mean fans in the UK are banned from travelling.
Britons living in locations including Munich were amongst those seeking seats at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday with fellow supporters in the UK forced to miss the game because they would need to self-isolate for five days.
Meanwhile, others in Dubai were also looking to capitalise on the scramble for tickets hoping to take advantage of a bilateral travel corridor that opened between United Arab Emirates and Italy earlier this month.
It comes as Italian authorities are reportedly tightening their border controls to stop followers of Gareth Southgate’s team from sneaking in against the rules.
And travel experts also warned fans against trying to take advantage of loopholes, including for business, because they risk watching the game from their hotel rooms and even missing the semi-final and final.
While the Football Association has been given 2,560 tickets for the match, Downing Street has urged fans not to travel to Rome for England’s Euro 2020 quarter-final tie with Ukraine on Saturday.
Those cheering for England in attendance will make up just 16 per cent of the agreed 16,000 capacity at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital – and it is understood the FA are trying to sell tickets to Brits currently living in Italy.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘People should not be travelling to amber list countries.
‘Obviously we appreciate how fans will want to do everything possible to support the England team but we do need to balance that against the need to protect public health.
‘We would urge everyone to comply with the guidelines and rules that we have in place.’
Commenting on the ticket chaos this morning, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK taunted England supporters who are banned from travelling to Italy for the huge match.
Vadym Prystaiko bragged his supporters could get into the country because they are in the ‘green zone’ and would be piling into the Stadio Olympico in Rome.
Expats in Dubai said they can travel to the Stadio Olimpico (pictured) after the United Arab Emirates and Italy opened a bilateral travel corridor for all passengers earlier this month
Vadym Prystaiko said supporters will fly into Italy for the match on Saturday because they are a ‘green zone’ travel country due to a lack of Covid cases there
Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Mr Prystaiko told the BBC: ‘Sorry to say but our people will find it easier travelling in. We are in the green zone for Europeans and we have so many Ukrainians to support them.’ Pictured: Fans at the Ukraine/Austria match on June 21
In reference to his side’s game against Sweden in Scotland last night (pictured), he said: ‘I was actually surprised yesterday how many of us were here at the Glasgow stadium’
England fans cannot go to Rome for Euros quarter-final due to Covid rules – but an army of expats might step in
One lucky England fan has said he will be attending the match on Saturday in Rome without fear of Covid quarantine as he will be travelling from Germany.
Luke Curner, who lives in Helmstedt but is originally from Folkestone, Kent, bought the tickets in 2019 as the match fell on his birthday weekend – which it still does despite rescheduling.
‘I’m excited to be seeing England in a major championship but at the same time I’m sad that it won’t have the same atmosphere due to the lack of English supporters being allowed to travel,’ the 36-year-old German language student said.
‘I’m very lucky to be in an EU country allowing me to travel with few restrictions.
It was great watching the game in Germany, although my whole neighbourhood knows I must be English and my wife hates me for waking our children up when England scored – luckily I am taking her to Rome for the match so she can’t hate me for too long.’
However, another fan with tickets said he was frustrated that he cannot attend due to Covid travel restrictions.
Warrick Howard, from Leicestershire, purchased tickets through the ballot system in 2019 for 140 euros each, but his plans for the match have been curtailed by Italy’s five-day quarantine requirement for UK arrivals.
‘Given the huge push to have everyone vaccinated there were ways of making this work for fans attending this tournament, but Uefa and the EU have made no effort to do so,’ the 37-year-old said.
‘I guess they were too busy organising thousands of ‘no quarantine required’ exemptions for their couple of thousand VIPs.
I thought about flying out to Italy on Sunday June 27 and doing my five-day quarantine in an AirBnB apartment so I’d be free for the game if England did make it through… but that would have required a week off work.’
Expats in Dubai were the first to break cover and reveal their hopes of cheering on the national team from the stadium on Saturday.
One fan wrote on Twitter: ‘It’s okay, plenty of expats heading from Dubai since we can’t go home but can go to Italy!’ Another added: ‘Dubai-Rome-Dubai on Saturday is feeling very tempting.’
The UAE and Italy signed a bilateral travel corridor which opened at the start of this month, meaning passengers do not have to quarantine on arrival.
All flyers have to have a rapid Covid test two days before they leave and if they test negative can move into the country without hassle.
But if their result comes back positive then they have to isolate at a quarantine hotel in the country like other passengers.
It means Britons who live in the UAE or have been there for the past two weeks can fly into Rome and attend the game on Saturday if they test negative.
Others thought they had figured out a loophole that would let them drive into Italy and watch the match in-person before heading home.
The Italian government allows for visitors to get into the country for 36 hours if they travel by road in a private vehicle and are heading through to somewhere else.
But the rules state that this must be for ‘proven reasons of work, health or absolute necessity, for less than 120 hours’.
These are in place from June 21 to July 30 for everyone who has been in the UK for the last two weeks, meaning they have to quarantine for five days which would mean they miss the England match.
One option would be to go to France – because it has no quarantine of people who are double jabbed – and drive to Rome which is letting citizens from there.
It is just six hours if driving from Nice.
One way around the driving loophole is if an Englishmen living in France drove into Italy for a ‘proven reason’ which involved heading to the football – for example a cameraman or journalist covering it.
But in a blow for any Britons tempted to try the loophole, it was reported today that the Italian authorities were tightening up their borders.
La Repubblica said officials were working to ‘intensify’ restrictions on motorways going into the country to stop England fans from sneaking in.
The newspaper said the Interior Ministry in Italy was working on strengthening controls at airports, stations and roads to thwart any rulebreakers.
And travel experts warned against anyone trying to game the system and get to Rome from the UK for Saturday’s match.
Head of The Points Guy UK Nicky Kelvin told MailOnline: ‘For those looking to head to Rome for England’s match against Ukraine this Saturday, it won’t be as easy as jumping on the next flight.
‘Italy currently requires all UK arrivals to take a test within 48 hours of departure and then isolate for five days and fill out an slot online digital form.
‘You must test again at the end of the five days to release from quarantine.
The quarantine will be ten days if a negative test can’t be provided on arrival.
‘So, even if you board your flight today, you will still have to isolate until Monday – meaning you’ll be watching the game from your hotel room.
‘It’s also important to note Italy is currently on the amber list – meaning that although it isn’t against the law, the UK government discourages travel to and from such destinations.
‘Upon your return in the UK you will need a test before flying, tests booked and paid for on day 2 and day 8, complete a passenger locator form and isolate at home for 10 days.
‘There is the opportunity to use the ‘test to release’ scheme on day five of your quarantine for an extra cost.
‘If Italy is added to the red list, which looks unlikely, you could even have to undergo a hotel quarantine for 10 days at a price of £1750 per person.
‘With the need to quarantine both on arrival and return, you’re much better off watching the match on home.
‘If you’ve got your heart set on heading to Rome – you could even lose your chance of watching England in the semi-final (or even the final) if they win this weekend back at Wembley in July.’
Paul Charles from the PC Agency added: ‘If you’ve been in UK in last 14 days you can’t enter Italy unless special exemption applied – e.g.
journalist/Gary Lineker! But then you would have to quarantine in the UK on your return from Italy.
‘So if in France for judi slot indonesia the last 15 days you can go into Italy. Can UEFA not get special exemption from Italian government for England fans in the same way they have got exemption for entering UK for sponsors?’
Despite the woe for England fans, the Ukrainians appeared jubilant at the Italy destination as the country’s ambassador to the UK claimed today they can get there in time for Saturday.
Mr Prystaiko told the BBC: ‘Sorry to say but our people will find it easier travelling in. We are in the green zone for Europeans and we have so many Ukrainians to support them.’
In reference to his side’s game against Sweden in Scotland last night, he said: ‘I was actually surprised yesterday how many of us were here at the Glasgow stadium.
‘We already have so many of them working and studying in Italy, numbers I believe is close to a million people.
I don’t believe all of them will come to Rome, but we will have significant numbers to support our football team.’
Ukrainian ministers wear the soccer national team’s yellow-and-blue jerseys following Ukraine’s defeat of Sweden last night
The Ukrainian ministers sit around a conference table wearing their football shirts on Wednesday afternoon as they prepare for Saturday
But in an official document shared by the consult in London, it appeared people living in Ukraine were still subject to travel rules.
In a section on its website described as ‘temporary travel mode’, it said: ‘Italy allows air transit provided that passengers do not leave the airport terminal and have a pre-purchased ticket for the next flight.
‘At the same time, if it is necessary to register for another flight of the airline, which involves leaving the transit zone of the airport, transit will be possible only with a biometric passport of a citizen of Ukraine to travel abroad or a valid Schengen visa.
‘Transit by road is also allowed, provided that it does not exceed 36 hours. You must have a biometric passport or a valid Schengen visa.’ It draws into question Mr Prystaiko’s claims Ukrainians will be able to get into Italy easier than their English rivals.
In a further blow for those fans who went to the game at Hampden Park last night, they will not be able to make the Rome match due to Italy’s five-day quarantine rule on travel from the UK.
Irate fans pointed out Uefa dignitaries will be given a quarantine exemption when they travel to London for the semi-finals and final next month.
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